Contributed by FCFCU
December can be full of warm family memories and truly joyful gift giving. But as you approach the “Twelve Days of Christmas” there’s no reason to go overboard on golden rings, calling birds and French hens. You can keep more money in your wallet with these year-end tips:
Sell losing stocks. If you have a Wall Street portfolio, some financial planners suggest now is the time to sell underperforming stocks to offset winners. You can write off up to $3,000 in losses against income.
Stick to a Christmas spending budget. Give gifts to people you love and friends you see frequently. It’s ok to drop some people from your list.
Watch your tax liability. If your income sagged this year, take advantage of lower tax brackets. If you had a better financial year, consider deferring income till next year. Take deductions early by making one or more of next year’s mortgage payments this year.
Donate. Giving to your favorite charitable cause is important year-round, but now your charitable giving can result in a big deduction.
Contribute the maximum to your 401(k). If you’re 50 and older, you can contribute more this year than folks under age 50.
If you have one, use up your flexible medical spending account. See your physician before the end of the year to take care of any medical problems, big and small.
Invest in equipment if you own a business. The year-end is a traditional time for businesses to buy and install computers, communications gear, even vehicles, usually qualifying for a deduction.
Consider converting your Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. You’ll pay taxes on it this year only, but it will grow tax-free from then on.
Give the Gift of Time. Instead of buying a gift, give loved ones and friends coupons for babysitting, home cooking, car washing, etc.
Plan financially for next year. Stay focused. Develop a written budget that includes every possible expense. It’s the best way to economize and save.
Move your money from the big banks. Why spend $100s just to keep your money in a big bank? By moving your money to a local, not-for-profit credit union, you become a member, not a profit-center for stockholders. Credit unions offer checking and savings without monthly fees, tons of no-fee services, low loan rates and really friendly service.
Be part of something special. Join Fresno County Federal Credit Union and be better off. You’ll get highly personalized service, mobile banking, and the essential services you need to manage your finances with ease. For more information about membership in Fresno County Federal Credit Union, visit www.FresnoCU.com.